Wu Tang Wednesday: GZA and Killah Priest teach about the B.I.B.L.E

While recent racial tensions surrounding police-brutality have garnered the general public’s attention, another divisive issue has picked up steam as of late. Public figures such as, Ice Cube, former NBA player Stephen Jackson and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson have posted social media doctrines acknowledging that the first of the Jewish people were indeed Black, and those we recognize as Hispanic and Native Americans, are actually decedents of the Black Hebrew Israelites. This sparked backlash with some labeling DeSean Jackson and Ice Cube as anti-Semitic and accusing them of spreading misinformation. While present-day celebrities take the brunt of the repercussions, these claims have been uttered by influential figures in the past. 

liquid swords

On November 7, 1995, GZA of the Wu Tang Clan released his second studio album, Liquid Swords. With no made-for-radio records, the project still debuted at number 9 on the Billboard charts and has since been certified platinum. A critically-acclaimed album, Liquid Swords is multi-faceted and backed by complex lyrics, it explores themes such as crime, philosophy and chess. And although GZA is recognized as the most lyrically potent of the Clan, the most compelling of the 13 tracks – and the album’s outro — came from protégé Killah Priest. Aptly titled “B.I.B.L.E” (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), the 4th disciple produced record explores the religious fallacies that have been instilled within the Black community, as well as the hypocrisies within organized religion that many children are forced to accept.  

In an interview with Righteous Disorder Tv, Killah Priest divulges how his record made the cut,  “it was a process, I just kicked a rhyme for GZA one day before it was even a song and GZA always loved that verse,” and soon after, it was turned into a full song. With the album’s producer — and Wu Tang Clan leader — RZA not sure of its placement within the project, it was turned into a bonus track.

The song begins with Killah Priest repeating the acronym four times before transitioning into the hook 

“Life is a test, many quest the Universe and through my research I felt joy and hurt, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Basic instructions before leaving earth.” 

With two lines, he sets the stage for the record’s theme. Acknowledging the joy in finding out the truth about his race and the feelings of sadness that come with the truth. The hook ends with “the first shall be last and the last will be first.” A reference to Genesis chapter 25, verse 23, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.'”

killah priest

Priest begins the first verse discussing his interest in the bible and why it is so important to him,

Explored my history that was untold and watched mysteries unfold and drop a jewel on them like Solomon, but never follow men cause if you do your brain hollower than space oblivia or the abyss.

He is ignoring the teachings of the church and doing his own research on the bible and what it means, as well as, who it is meant for. As he learns more, he uncovers new mysteries that he was never taught, and he begins to teach others what he has learned. “Never follow men,” speaks to the ideology that God should be the only entity leading one to salvation. 

He carries on,

I speak on Jacob, it might take some time up, and too much knowledge, it might break up the rhyme. I did it anyway, just to wake up the mind of those who kiss stones or prays on carpet. Those who sit home or sell books by the market need to chill and give their mind revived for years religion has done nothing but divide.

The first line serves as a double entendre, as “Jacob” is a known biblical reference, while Jacob Arabo is known popularly within hip hop circles as “Jacob the Jeweler,” for his unique designs of Jewelry — specifically watches — The last two lines throw stones at those who pray and profit off of selling the bible yet, know little of their true history. 

On the second verse he advances with his earlier rhetoric on religion and how it has been used to confuse him and his people, while also speaking on the true origins of the White race.

I even learnt that Caucasians were the tribe of Edom the white image of Christ is really Cesare Borgia. And uhh, the second son of Pope Alexander the sixth of Rome and once the picture was shown that’s how the devil tricked my dome.

He alleges that Caucasian people are the decedents of Esau (the first son of Isaac and the first White person in history, according to The Old Testament) and his tribe Edom, a stance recently reiterated by Ice Cube and Desean Jackson. 

On the last verse he says, 

I prophesized to save man, but no one gives a damn for my nation, the seed of Abraham blessed with the tongue of Hebrew now we strung on needles and some plunging evils. So, study and be wise in these days of darkness, peace to my nephew Marcus.

With a desolate first bar, Killah Priest gives insight into the thoughts of a man who is trying to warn yet, the more he tells people the true history the more they don’t care or take what he says seriously, leaving him frustrated. On the second line, he says that his people are descendants of the biblical figure —Abraham, ascribing to the chosen seed that God prophesized he would be blessed with. At one point his people were blessed in their history and knowledge of Hebrew. Now, they are strung on needles — referencing the many drugs that have been pipelined to Black inner cities — and committing other evil acts. Finishing off by encouraging them to take their knowledge into their own hands.

While Black entertainers continue to receive backlash for their thoughts on Judaism, the authenticity of their claims must be acknowledged. With this record being a quarter-century old, how many more people have already accepted Killah Priest’s claims as their truth? It’s easy to accept the status quo as the truth, challenging accepted ideologies is the only way we can grow as people, and that begins with exploring the possibilities of different origins to every religion, as none belong to any one race.

With contributions from Alain Clerine.

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